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Saturday September 30, 2017

Hope you'll join us, at Wells Hall. Singles, couples, first-timers, and experienced dancers; All are Welcome. No partner needed; Alcohol and smoke-free; Workshop for newcomers (see below.) We have a great time, dancers, caller, and musicians too! Sponsored by the Seattle Folklore Society.

MICHAEL KARCHER will teach and call the dances. His witty coomentary, good explaining and teaching, and repertoire adaptable to any dance crowd, have made him a favorite at dances in Tacoma, Olympia, Seattle, and throughout the Northwest. I've danced to him many times, especially in Tacoma and Olympia, and I've enjoyed myself every time.

Music will be by Lindon Toney's band RIFF RAFF who usually play the Fourth Saturdays, and in Olympia. But this is not a usual month, since Sept. 30 is Linda and my 50th wedding anniversary, and we'll be at an open house at our son's place. So Lindon graciously agreed to play 5th Saturday in Tacoma. And one of my bands will play his Fourth Saturday Olympia Dance Sept. 23. (More on 9/23 later.)

On this occasion, in addition to band founder Lindon Toney, Riff Raff will include Jesse Partridge and River Scheuerell, trading off on guitar and fiddle. The "Riff Raff sound" has long set the standard for contra dancing in Olympia.

Specifics on the Event:

The Fifth Saturday Contra Dance will be held at Christ Church Wells Hall, 310 North K Street, Tacoma - directions below. It is well-known as one of the sweetest halls in Puget Sound. (Note: It's the same location as the Tacoma Contra Dance that's held mostly on Third Saturdays.)

The dance will run from 8:00 - 11:00 pm. The cost is $9.00, with a $2.00 discount for 18 down and 65 up. As always, a 10% discount will be available to Seattle Folklore Society members who request it.

There will be a newcomers' intro-lesson at 7:30 pm. Contra dancing is "not rocket science", and by the third dance, anyone looking out over the crowd will likely be unable to tell who just learned that evening! Michael Karcher is easy to learn from, in terms of his knowledge, his charm, and his wit. We are proud of the tradition of asking newcomers and visitors to dance, and looking after them on the dance floor. (Experienced dancers often bring friends they've been wanting to introduce to contra dancing, and help out by dancing in the mini-lesson.)

OK a few notices . . .

Please avoid wearing scented products (e.g. perfume, aftershave, cologne, scented hand lotion) to the Fifth Saturday Contra Dance. (Dancing, being aerobic, magnifies their scent, and also the effect of the solvents used therein!) Some dancers are hypersensitive or allergic to such products.

A word about children's attendance: It is fine for older children and teenagers who are comfortable interacting with adults on their own. However, it is not appropriate for small children unless they are on the sidelines supervised by adults at all times.

A caution on parking: The street right across from the hall has been posted as a "residents only" zone, so please don't park there - tickets have been given. There is plenty of parking on adjacent streets, and there are spots behind the church as well.

Directions to Wells Hall   

310 North "K" Street, Tacoma

From Seattle, "Eastside" of Lake Washington, or Des Moines

I-5 south to exit 133 (Tacoma City Center). Then take I-705 and the Schuster Parkway exit on the right (still called I-705). From there again stay right and take the Stadium Way (first) exit from Schuster Pkwy. At the top of the exit ramp, turn right. The street goes up hill. Follow it til it ends, then swing left onto North 1st. You pass Stadium Thriftway and a Chevrolet lot, and then merge into Division at a traffic light. Continue on Division, turn right onto North "K". Wells Hall is the second building on the left. Enter the dance through the church courtyard.

Note: Because of construction on I-5 near Tacoma, the exit to I-705 is a bit of a "white knuckle" experience - a single lane threaded between construction barriers. It can be done; I've done it a couple of times. But if that's not for you, I suggest you go a little farther south on I-5, following the signs for SR-16. Then in the curved exit ramp, stay to the right and immediately take the S. Sprague Ave exit, which heads you northbound. Follow Sprague past a couple of lights until you come to a multi-way light at 6th. Take the soft right into Division. Follow Division to the light at North "K" Street and take a left. Wells Hall is the second building on the left.

From Olympia

Take Interstate 5 to Tacoma, exit 132 (Route 16-Gig Harbor exit), which is quite a bit south of the center of Tacoma. Head for Route 16 (skipping the S 38th St exit); once in the curving exit ramp, keep your eyes peeled for the immediate first exit (1A); to Sprague Avenue. Once on S Sprague Ave at street level, you're heading north; pass lights at 19th and 12th (or 11th) until you come to multi-way light at 6th. Take the soft right into Division (not the sharp right into 6th). Follow Division to the light at North "K" Street and take a left. Wells Hall is the second building on the left.

From West of the Narrows Bridge

Follow Rt 16 across the Narrows Bridge. Take exit 1A for Sprague Ave. Once on S Sprague Ave at street level, you're heading north; pass lights at 19th and 12th (?? or 11th) until you come to multi-way light at 6th. Take the soft right into Division (not the sharp right into 6th). Follow Division to the light at North "K" Street and take a left. Wells Hall is the second building on the left.

For more information please contact:
Phil Katz - - 206 722 8228.
(you know what to do with the ZZZ)

OK, now for the Sept. 23 Fourth Saturday in Olympia

Olympia's CAROL PIENING will call, as she has many times in her home town. Her dance teaching is easy to follow, she has a nice collection of dances to choose from, and of course, there is nothing like being "at home" to facilitate understanding the crowd, to come up with appropriate dances to call.

The band will be PADDY'S HANDCAR (named for our fiddler's fave tune.) We bring together the contra repertoire of the Northeast along with tunes from the our own region. We call our contra tune repertoire Northwest and Yankee music, following in the footsteps of Pleasures of Home and Small Pleasures.

Our fiddler will be Catherine Graham, a recent graduate of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, now teaching primary grades in a nearby town. Despite her relative youth, she has over a dozen years attending sessions and workshops in the WA Old Time Fiddlers' Association, and several years playing fiddle in the chair next to Vivian Williams at Fifth Saturday Dances. She has "paid her dues", following not only Vivian's dance playing style and repertoire, but those of several other trad-style dance fiddlers. This is how "passing on traditions" happens.

Melodeon player Phil Katz was a founder of the initial Saturday contradance series in Puget Sound (the Salmonberry Second Saturday dance begun in Seattle in 1980.) Since that time he has played in Scotsbroome, Pleasures of Home, Small Pleasures, Grey Owl, Common Ground, Fresh Cider, Sleeping Giant, and Full Scale. He dances regularly in Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia.

Joe Micheals will provide rocksolid guitar backup, as he has long done for numerous bands in the region, most notably mighty Red Crow, but also last month for Riff Raff in Olympia. Joe has also been a caller for several decades, first square dances and then contra dances. His perspective in "reading" what's happening on the dance floor is invaluable.

Note that the Olympia dance is shifted 30 min. earlier, to 7:00 workshop and 7:30 - 10:30 dance. All other information, including hall location and directions, can be found at .

Webmaster: Matt Fisher (
Last modified 09/21/17.